Thanks to the elite collection of talented youngsters Ben Simmons, Dario Saric and Joel Embiid, Philadelphia has more to cheer after the NFL season which had the city’s Eagles upset the odds to win its first Super Bowl.
Sixers are in line to make the postseason for the first time since 2012. However, the man largely responsible for laying the ground work, Sam Hinkie, is not with the team after resigning from his post mainly due to the appointment of Jerry Colangelo.
The father-son Colangelo combination has put in good work since taking over by signing veterans Amir Johnson and JJ Reddick to competitive one year contracts while locking young talented Small Forward Robert Covington to a long term deal. Covington’s long term presence on the team is vital to alleviate shooting woes of Simmons and Markelle Fultz.
Unlike Mark Jackson who barely gets props for his contribution to Golden State Warriors historically good team in recent years, Hinkie is beloved by Sixers fans who rally behind him with “Trust the Process” placards. One will be tempted to believe setting Philadelphia on a potential Championship winning path will be enough to get Hinkie back in the league.
Charlotte Hornets have a vacant spot after declining to extend General Manager Rich Cho’s contract after this season; Former Lakers Manager Mitch Kupchak has been tipped for the position.
With Vlade Divac screwing up everything good in Sacramento with the Kings, chances are high he will not be at the helm when the Kings play their second season at the Golden 1 Arena. However, should the spot be available Sacramento should avoid going in for Sam Hinkie.
Kings have enough losses already
For starters, the Kings have had their fair share of losses to be compounded by another long “Process” as the way out of the doldrums. Through Hinkie’s three year reign in Philadelphia, the Sixers won only 47 games and lost a whopping 199. This was after Hinkie turned the side around in the summer of 2013 when he quickly dismantled the team that made the Eastern Conference semifinals. Jrue Holiday and Andre Iguodala led the team but neither returned with Iguodala signing with Denver Nuggets and Holiday traded to New Orleans Pelicans.
Sacramento isn’t Philadelphia and has not been to the playoffs since 2006 after years of posting losing records in the Western Conference. Mind you, those losses had premier talent DeMarcus Cousins in for five straight seasons; without Cousins, the Kings would have witnessed their version of Philadelphia out west. At the moment, Sacramento has 18 wins and 39 losses, bound for another trip to the NBA Draft lottery and set for another rebuild in season 2018-2019. Basically, themes Hinkie carries along are playing out in the present.
Kings are good at drafting players just like Hinkie
Hinkie’s grand plan manifested at this year’s Rising Stars Challenge at this year’s NBA All Star Weekend when Embiid, Saric and Simmons played for Team World. Having the trio in the game for the next wave of NBA superstars is testament to his ability to draft well. Simmons was picked number overall post Hinkie but Colangelo got the chance to pick him first overall due to Hinkie’s tinkering. Sacramento matched Philadelphia in the game with three players in De’Aaron Fox, Bogdan Bogdanovic and Buddy Hield.
The success Sixers stand to enjoy with Simmons and Embiid at the helm is likely to be played out in Sacramento with Fox and Bogdanovic leading the charge. Unlike Sixers, the Kings have messed up developing on its core after making bad signings. Capturing George Hill in free agency was a mistake that stunted the growth of Fox, Malachi Richardson and Frank Mason. Worse, Hill is in Cleveland after midseason trade that forced Sacramento to let Richardson leave and cut Giogrgios Papagiannis who they selected 12th overall in the 2016 Draft.
Sacramento and Hinkie is a bad combo
For more than a decade Sacramento, has been tagged as an NBA backburner with the cultural principles and organization contrary to those in San Antonio, Boston and Miami. Thanks to his elaborate plan to build a championship side, Hinkie has a bad rap in the league and his presence is likely not to attract free agents or projected lottery picks. His queer ways of handling business was a reason Kristaps Porzingis reportedly turned down an invitation to work out for the team.
With Charlotte sure to nab Kupchak, Sacramento can make a run at ex Cleveland Manager David Griffin who has championship winning resume.
By Yaw Adjei-Mintah
@YawMintYM on Twitter